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Celestial delight: A rare planetary alignment

Celestial delight: A rare planetary alignment

A rare celestial conjunction, but the world will not come to an end.

New Delhi: Star gazers have another grand celestial event to celebrate. The finest planetary conjunction of the year will happen on May 11 when Venus passes very close to the south of Jupiter. The two brightest planets on the sky will not get this close anytime before August 2014.

Beginning May 11, the four planets Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Mars will rearrange themselves to form different patterns in the sky. This celestial spectacle can be easily seen through the naked eye. On May 13, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will form a triangle and on May 20, it will be Mars, Venus, and Mercury in the triangular position.

Though two other planets, Uranus and Neptune, will also participate in this show in the sky, but viewing them will need the aid of a telescope.

It is a rare phenomenon when so many planets can be viewed at one time on one section of the sky.

The rare planetary conjunction will end on May 30, when a crescent Moon also joins the party.

Any rare planetary alignment is a cue for the doomsayers to worry about the end of the world. Nothing to worry say the experts. "Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated," says a NASA post dissipating fears of any forthcoming celestial catastrophe.